People make such a fuss over dreams, but not for the same reason I do. Sure, it’s pretty fascinating just how powerful the imagination really is, and how the inner depths of your mind clearly get a kick out of putting you in some seriously wild scenarios, but why is no one talking about the people who make a cameo in said fantasies? What does it mean when someone is in your dream? Don’t you find it strange when your ex pops up, or Dream You is head over heels for a complete stranger? And what does it mean when someone dreams about you? When you’re the one popping into your mom or best friend’s psyche? Is this the universe’s way of bringing two people closer together, or tearing them apart? I reached out to experts in the space to find out.
To be clear, let me just say that dreams might seem unpredictable and totally farfetched, but even your worst nightmares are usually the result of something or someone in your real life — which, granted, might be a little disturbing if you read too much into them, but generally speaking, the fact that your brain processes the very real emotions you have in such a way that it can generate entirely new, purely fantastical worlds out of a five-minute conversation you had in passing, is downright incredible. What's arguably even more mind-blowing is that, sometimes, dreams bring you along for someone else's ride, too.
What does it mean if you appear in someone’s dream?
So, what does it mean if someone dreams about you? Alesandra Woolley, executive editor of the mattress reviews site Mattress Advisor, says it could be that you’ve been spending a lot of time with that person lately, but it’s also possible that you just happened to have a meaningful interaction with the person, and your impression obviously stuck in their mind. “Dreams are one way that our brains process emotions, so any emotion that's linked to an individual relationship or connection can result in them showing up in your dreams,” she tells Elite Daily.
Theresa Cheung, dream expert and author of How to Catch a Dream, says that people who moonlight in others’ dreams are likely a reflection of the dreamer and what they must learn, face, or understand. So, if you do appear in someone else’s dream, it’s less about you, and more about them. “The world of the dream is like stepping into a hall of mirrors where you see yourself reflected everywhere and in everything,” Cheung tells Elite Daily. “A lot of people think that when they see other people in their dreams, the dream is about them. But every person sheds light on the complex person you are.”
It’s also worth noting that you might pop into someone else’s dream even though you haven’t seen or spoken to them in years. Dr. LeslieBeth Wish, a licensed clinical psychotherapist, relationship expert, and author of the book, Training Your Love Intuition, tells Elite Daily that, if someone sees you or a photo that resembles you, talks with people who know you, or comes across a character in a book or movie that made them think of you, odds are you’ll visit them in a dream. In other words, it’s rarely by coincidence, according to Wish.
All things considered, though, it’s not really surprising that Woolley says the more involved you are in someone’s life, the more likely it is you’ll be in their dreams at some point or another. What is kind of shocking, however, is that “involved” doesn’t necessarily have to mean “close with.” You might see someone on your commute to work every day, never say a word to them, and be the main attraction in their dream, Woolley explains. “Remember, dreams are a reflection of emotions in our waking life — so even if someone made the slightest impression on you, something about them sparks your interest or makes you curious, they can show up in your dream,” she says.
Why does it happen?
So what’s the meaning behind it all, if closeness isn’t necessarily always a factor? Well, for one, it depends on the person who’s having a dream about you, and their relation toward you, but it can also be rooted in how they would like to be associated with you. For example, say there's someone at work who really admires you, but doesn’t know you that well. If you were just recognized for an impressive accomplishment, Woolley explains, then that person might dream about becoming friends with you.
“[Dreams] could be symbolic of your desire to associate with a person and carry the [honor] they've been recognized for yourself,” she tells Elite Daily. On the other hand, Woolley adds, someone could have a dream about being enemies with you, in which case this type of scenario could represent feelings of jealousy.
But even if you’re the villain in someone else’s dream, it’s more telling about them than about you. “If someone tells you that you were a killer or evil in their dream, don’t let this unsettle you,” Cheung says. “Remember that dreams are deeply personal, and the person is dreaming about the toxic potential within themselves.” No matter if you are the leading lady or the evil villain, the true meaning and significance can only be found in the mind of the person dreaming.
When you make an appearance in a loved one’s dream, like a spouse, or even someone who just had strong feelings for you once upon a time, Wish tells Elite Daily that a high emotional experience is typically the driving force there. “Usually, there is a more powerful reason why you are there — and not somebody else,” she explains. “Even if that person has not had a personal connection, this person could have had a crush on you in high school, and so, when your name was mentioned, or a similar-looking person appeared, you ended up in another person's dream.”
There’s nothing quite as rattling as dreaming about an ex, especially when it’s paired with a rather steamy plotline. But you can take a breath, because dreaming about an ex doesn’t necessarily mean you want to get back together. “But it can mean you want closure or that there are lessons from past relationships which you need to remember and might help your current relationships,” Cheung says. The same goes for if you show up in your ex’s late night thoughts. It may not mean they’re ready to pick up the phone and call you, but they may need to continue to process the history they shared with you.
It's amazing to think that somewhere out there, sweet dream or not, someone might be dreaming of you. Take it as a compliment, never with a grain of salt, because obviously you've clearly made quite the impression. But when wondering what it means when someone is dreaming about you, remember that dreams reveal insight into the dreamer, not the subjects of their imagination. As Cheung says, “Think of your dreams as a little like night school — where the only subject being taught and which you need to study is you.”
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